Health Newsletter #9

EVO.TEE
EVOLUTIONARY THINKING, EATING AND EXERCISING

31st January 2016

Welcome to EVO.TEE's January health newsletter. We have a new look for you because we all love a bit of novelty! I'll start with a little story and then introduce some of the things I've been working on over the month of January.


What is so hard about commitment?

Read time: 5 mins
 

Are we all scared of commitment, or is it just me? To achieve long term health and happiness we must commit to living a certain way for the rest of our lives. Six week diets and boot camps just don’t cut it. So why is it so hard?
 

We associate health with no more cake, no more sweets and no more treats. How many times have we heard a friend say, “That’s it, I'm giving up chocolate”. But the thought of giving something up for ever is crippling. And the fear of missing out crushes us!

This is why crash dieting fails time after time. We are successful and lose weight, then we pile it all back on again (plus some) when our motivation runs out! When we live in a world of plenty, restricting ourselves is a sure fire way to rebounding.

But does it have to be this way? Is there a clever trick to defeat this shitty pattern? In my experience, one of the best ways to experience lasting change is to make a commitment to myself. To make a promise, to commit to a plan and to stick with it. No matter how many times I fall off the horse, I always get back on. But this can be a difficult road.

In 2013, I learnt exactly what sugar does to our health. It’s the sugar making us fat, not the fat! I then became aware of my own addiction to this little white devil. This sweet little treat is more addictive than cocaine and we feed it to our children!

 So I immediately thought I need to eradicate this from my diet. But the thought of giving up sugar for life was terrifying. I loved this stuff and it brought me happiness! Going cold turkey was too much and it wasn't long before I caved in! And right behind the binge was guilt and self hatred for being so weak! I went on to repeat this pattern many times but eventually it became easier.

Back in 2009, I recall sitting in a staff meeting about pensions. It was my second year of teaching PE and I was thinking to myself, do I want to teach kids PE for the rest of my life? 45 more years of this? Is this all there is to life? Do I have to commit my whole life to one career?

Why were all these questions flying through my mind? What was so daunting about committing to just one worthwhile career? May be nothing, but it took me only four years to realise, something wasn't right. There had to be more out there! 


Just imagine committing to eating Chinese food for the rest of your life? No way right? Sometimes we fancy Indian food and other times we like Italian food. I worked with a guy who thought this way about women. He said, “Why on earth would I want to commit to just one woman for the rest of my life, when I can try them all?”

When we think of being healthy we often just think about diet and exercise. But our relationships and our jobs matter as well. And a lack of commitment to any part of our lives can cause big problems. But can we look at it in more positive way?

When we fully commit to something we can create depth in our life. Our health will be greater, our relationships fuller, and our lives richer.”

There are evolutionary reasons why we fear commitment. Picture for a second, the thought of monogamy 10,000 years ago. Back then we were much more primal and our animal instincts more dominant. Experts suggest that men and women were much more likely to mate with more than one partner. 

The reasons why we stray and cheat are complex. Esther Perel and Helen Fisher document this phenomenon well. But in essence, promiscuity increased our chances of passing on our DNA. By passing on our DNA we cheat death!


Today we are far removed from the animal kingdom, living life in 2016 is not the same as 10,000 years ago. But the problem is we still have the same drives as our primal ancestors.

So why are we scared to commit? When we commit to something, we are simultaneously giving up something else. If I commit to a life time of jiu jitsu, then I cannot spend my life becoming a concert pianist. Committing to one thing is a form of bridge burning, comparable to signing a contract. We can't marry more than one person at a time and this can create conflict in us.

In our minds, committing to a healthy lifestyle is saying no to unhealthy activities. But it's not just this. As a species, part of us is wired to be selfish. Our drive is to survive! And like many animals, we prefer immediate gains and overlook future incentives. 

The only thing we can be guaranteed of is this very moment. Perhaps a deeper part of us knows that at any point, a tragic accident could take everything away. It’s hardly a surprise that we developed a penchant for immediate gratification!

In general I'm a committed guy, I see what I want and I go for it. But I’m far from perfect and over the last year I've learnt a few things about commitment.

When I first came to Sheffield, I couldn’t decide whether to stay, or go to live in Scandinavia. I told people I wanted to go to learn how to build eco homes (nothing to with beautiful blonde babes). But then I decided against that plan. I said to myself I would commit to staying in Sheffield for 2 years and build a business. Then if it didn't work out, I would go to Sweden.

As soon as I committed to a life in Sheffield, everything started to fall into place. I started meeting people and making deeper connections with people I knew. Soon I felt like a had a great bunch of friends. And those friends soon came to help me in ways I'd never thought possible.

Right now my life is great. I am healthy, my business is up and running, I’ve met someone special and I'm living in a great house with my sister! I have nothing to complain about.


The only thing left, is to make a living from my business without using teaching as a financial crutch. The fear is, that I won’t be earning the money I need to live the life I'm used to. But as soon as I recognise this concern, it’s become insignificant! Let’s face it, if it doesn't quite work out, then I can always do a day or two of teaching.

 

It’s important to test the water though. In some situations, it’s no good jumping in the deep end and drowning. This is especially true if we have people depending on us. But until we commit to something with everything we have, we won’t experience all there is to gain.

 

By telling you this story I hope to give you the courage to commit to a big change in your life. And to help you, I suggest doing the following: 

1) Make changes non threatening and temporary. Be ambitious and dream big, but break it down into realistic and achievable steps.

2) Give it long enough to reap the rewards. Rewards come with dedication, don’t write a method off before it’s had a chance to work.

3) Remember if a new lifestyle is miserable we can always go back to our old unhealthy habits.

We take the path of least resistance because it’s comfortable to keep doing what we are doing. Change is difficult. But it's madness to expect life to get better without changing ourselves. So it's important to remind ourselves that:

If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got.”
— Henry Ford

Latest Blog

As many of you know I am a huge advocate of meditation and mindfulness. Becoming more conscious and aware of our inner and outer world is the key to long term happiness and success.

Learning to meditate simple but not easy! On one level it is just sitting down and becoming conscious of our breathing. But there is more to it and we all crave some reassurance when learning a new skill. So this year I've started teaching meditation to some budding students in Sheffield.

I've started with a 6 week course, with an hour session every Friday. But my aim is to branch out and teach to adults and children, in schools and in businesses. I also want to explore teaching via the internet so I can reach friends across the world, who want to learn with me.

If you want to be learn more click on the button below. It will take you to my latest blog on meditation and a sign up form to be kept in the loop.


Latest Video

I've been wanting to make a series of videos for a long time now, but something has been holding me back!

Video #1 a short clip about the only diet I would ever recommend. You can view it by click on the image above.

Email me your suggestions of topics you'd like me to talk about: james@evotee.co.uk


Latest Pics

Several years ago, I came across a few quotes that really inspired me to change. So I figured why not share some of my favourites with you. Here's an example of some of the work I've been doing on Instagram. Click here to follow EVO.TEE


Social Media

This month I've been exploring Facebook's algorithms and I've learnt a few things. Unless I pay to have my content pushed into your news feeds then I need you to like and comment more. So if you like something, don't be shy, like it and comment. 

I also discovered that by visiting EVO.TEE's page and hovering over the Like button you can select your preferences. You can get all our content into your news feed first or as and when. A video will be released tonight  to show you how, so keep an eye out for that!

And as ever I've been sharing my work and retweeting great content through Twitter. So why not head over and follow us there too?!  


What's next?

My mission is to support people in becoming healthier and happier. This is only possible by learning how our bodies and minds are designed. A big part of the puzzle is recognising our evolutionary history. I can help you understand how your body and mind works. You will find lots of free health education here and I encourage you to click here to learn how to work with me one to one.

If you find value in my work then all I ask is that you share it with your friends. I don't say this to get rich and famous (well may be a little bit!), I say it because I want to help as many people as I can. One thing I came to understand is that if I'm struggling with something then so are others. And by working hard to improve our health and happiness is not a weakness, it is a strength! So get sharing because this journey to better health and happiness will be easier if we are all working together.

Thanks
James @
EVO.TEE


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